Writing messages for Blackberries and other PDAs
This weekend, literary agent Janet Reid posted some of her email rules, which reminded me I’d been working on a post about PDAs. While these devices are incredibly handy, they have their limitations, so it’s worthwhile keeping these points in mind (whether you’re using a Blackberry / other PDA or simply writing messages that may be read on them):
Writing messages for Blackberry / PDA users:
– Messages can only be downloaded in full when the user has service, so make sure all the vital information is at the top of your message.
– PDAs hyperlink email addresses (and smart phones “recognize” phone numbers) which means you can email / call with the click of a button. This also means that it can’t hurt to repeat both an email address and phone number within the body of a message (like in your electronic signature) so the user can quickly respond.
– My Blackberry, which dates back to the Civil War, cannot display HTML (the computer language that allows you to view pictures and formatting and all the “pretty” stuff). Since you may be contacting journalists who are similarly handicapped, make sure your pitch isn’t dependent on fonts, colors, etc.
– The other thing I can’t see on Berry messages is email addresses. (I can see that an email message is from John Doe, but I can’t see that his address is firstname.lastname@example.org.) So make sure you always use an email signature (both with new messages as well as with replies and forwards).
Using Blackberries / PDAS:
– Make sure to set an email signature on your PDA. Users often neglect to do this (even if they have set an e-signature for their desktop account) which means a sizeable number of your messages are being sent with only your email address to identify you.
– You have the option of removing the “Sent from my Blackberry / iPhone / etc.” signature from your messages. Some heavy users deliberately use it as a “disclaimer” to excuse the occasional typo resulting from thumbing an email message, which is fine, but don’t leave it there simply because you didn’t know how to / couldn’t be bothered to remove it. You can always replace it with … your esignature!